Children’s Religious Education

“The great end in religious instruction is not to stamp our minds upon the young, but to stir up their own;
Not to make them see with our eyes, but to look inquiringly and steadily with their own;
Not to give them a definite amount of knowledge, but to inspire a fervent love of truth;
Not to form an outward regularity, but to touch inward springs;
Not to bind them by ineradicable prejudices to our particular sect of peculiar notions;
But to prepare them for impartial, conscientious judging of whatever subjects may be offered to their decision;
Not to burden the memory, but to quicken and strengthen the power of thought;
Not to impose religion upon them in the form of arbitrary rules, but to awaken the conscience, the moral discernment;
In a word, the great end is to awaken the soul, to excite and cherish spiritual life.”
— Unitarian Minister William Ellery Channing





We strive to be a welcoming and joyful community for our children & youth. Our religious exploration programs reflect all of our principles and sources but especially our third principle, the “encouragement to spiritual growth,” and our fourth principle, “a free and responsible search for truth and meaning.” We strive to make our religious exploration programs fun and developmentally appropriate.

 If you are looking for a spiritual community that respects your family’s diverse spiritual heritage, we encourage you to explore North Shore Unitarian Church.  We have long been a home for multi-faith families on the North Shore of Chicago.



2023-2024 Religious Education Program:


Our well-equipped nursery is available for use at no charge during the 10 AM worship service. Our nursery serves children from 4 months through age 3.  Our nursery is currently only staffed once a month, but parents/guardians and children are welcome to use the room during the service on unstaffed Sundays.  We highly encourage parents to connect to our live stream services on Zoom while enjoying the nursery with their little one.  

Religious Exploration at NSUC this fall:
North Shore Unitarian Church is committed to offering religious exploration programs that offer rich opportunities for learning and spiritual growth while recognizing the challenges faced by our children, youth, and parents. Specifically, we seek to provide programs and resources that

  • Meet the spiritual, social, and emotional needs of children/youth during this challenging time
  • Teach the principles of anti-racism and celebrate the many shapes and structures that a family can take
  • Explore moral questions, other faiths, and the principles of Unitarian Universalism
  • Commit to engendering social action and lives of purpose in our children/youth

Rather than selecting a single curriculum for each age group as we have done in the past, we plan to draw from a wide-variety of curricula and resources to meet the evolving needs of children and youth this year.

Youth Group (6th – 12th grade)

Youth grow deeper in Unitarian Universalism, learn about social justice issues, work on community service projects, participate in youth cons, plan the annual youth-led worship service, and have a ton of fun together!

Youth group begins at 10 AM and is led by an advising team of congregational members.  Youth group members went on a service trip to McDowell County, West Virginia in 2019 and to several important civil rights sites in Birmingham, Selma, and Montgomery, Alabama in 2022.


RE Wide Program-Wide projects:

Once a month, children/youth take a break from regular worship and small group classes to attend a special RE wide program.  This could be a special presentation, art project, off-site field trip, or preparation of meal kits for a local homeless shelter. In the past, these RE wide programs have included baking challah, collecting seed at Ryerson Conservation Area, touring the Wildlife Discovery Center, and yoga.  


Special programs offered occasionally: Our Whole Lives (O.W.L.) 

Our Whole Lives (OWL) is a comprehensive, sexuality and relationship education program that was developed by the United Church of Christ and the Unitarian Universalist Association. OWL supports participants in living their principles and values in relationships and having an age-appropriate perspective about their bodies and sexuality. There are six curricula for different ages: grades K-1, 4-6, 7-9, 10-12, young adult (ages 18-35), and adult (18+). The content for each level is developmentally appropriate. For instance, the K-1 level covers familial relationships, body parts, and safety, while the adult level covers changes in bodies and relationships that happen throughout adulthood. NSUC the 7-9 and 10-12 OWL classes next year. Note: These classes are open to the general public.  Please contact or 847-235-1955 to learn more.

Safety Policy

We are committed to making NSUC a safe place for children, youth, and adults. Our congregational safety policy can be viewed here.  Please contact the Congregational Life & Education Coordinator,, with any questions.

*North Shore Unitarian Church is always interested in speaking with qualified and experienced childcare workers.  If you are interested or know someone who might be interested in employment opportunities, please email